Radical Chic

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In 1970, Tom Wolfe published his account of a fundraiser Leonard Bernstein hosted for the Black Panthers in his 13-room penthouse. Don Cox, the Field Marshal of the Black Panther Party addressed a crowd who had just been served Roquefort cheese morsels rolled in crushed nuts and meatballs petites au Coq Hardi by uniformed maids: 

“‘We relate to a phrase coined by Malcolm X: “By any means necessary”… and by that we mean that we recognize that if you’re attacked, you have the right to defend yourself. The pigs, they say the Black Panthers are armed, the Black Panthers have weapons… see… and therefore they have a right to break in and murder us in our beds. I don’t think there’s anybody in here who wouldn’t defend themselves if somebody came in and attacked them or their families… see… I don’t think there’s anybody in here who wouldn’t defend themselves…’

–And every woman in the room thinks of her husband… with his cocoa-butter jowls and Dior Men’s Boutique pajamas… ducking into the bathroom and locking the door and turning the shower on, so he can say later he didn’t hear a thing–”

Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny’s, Tom Wolfe, New York Magazine, June 8, 1970: